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Policy Brief: Asia and Digital Economy Agreements: Necessity and Uncertainty

Policy Brief

22 Jul Policy Brief: Asia and Digital Economy Agreements: Necessity and Uncertainty

As the modern economy becomes increasingly digitalised, countries such as Singapore have recognised the need to focus on incorporating new digital rules and provisions. Specifically, this has led Singapore to formalise Digital Economy Agreements (DEAs) with its trade partners. Essentially, DEAs establish frameworks making digital trade and e-commerce standards and systems interoperable. While Singapore and other like-minded countries have begun forging DEAs with ambitions to expand these networks, the geopolitical aspects of Sino-US competition, especially in the technology field, have brought in a significant level of tension and uncertainty. The effects are particularly acute in regional blocs such as ASEAN, a potential theatre of US-China contestation.

In this policy brief published by the European University Institute, Associate Professor Simon Tay, Chairman, SIIA and Jessica Wau, Deputy Director, ASEAN Programme SIIA, assess the need for DEAs and how countries ought to think about developing digital cooperation. It also examines obstacles that may arise from external factors such as great power rivalry, and possible ways countries can navigate these challenges.

Download the policy brief here.